John Tucker

Co-director, Asian Studies Program
Department of History
East Carolina University

Appliquéd and embroidered Hmong textile from Vietnam


Story of the block

The textile that I contributed was a piece given to me around 1979 or so by a friend from college (Davidson), Karl Schlotterbeck. He had traveled to Thailand to help with processing refugees from Vietnam. I am not sure who his employer was, but I think that it was some US Government agency. Anyway, he had access to all sorts to local crafts that were apparently for sale for next to nothing. The piece that he sent me (while I was a graduate student in Hawaii) was one of these pieces. I wish that I could claim a more direct personal relationship to the textile, but that is the story. It is a beautiful piece, and now though over 25 years old and somewhat faded and discolored, it nonetheless conveys a vibrant energy that still mystifies me. I wish that I could explain it in terms of Buddhism or Hinduism, or some mixture of those, but honestly it does not look like anything that I have seen before in connection with those religious forces. Perhaps the idea is to communicate the beautifully mysterious dynamism of our vital world.


Website with information on Hmong textiles